What is Motivation and how do we motivate ourselves

We don’t really think about motivation as such but we know it’s important in our day to day lives. We need motivation, whether it’s going to the gym, going for work or even just getting out of your bed.

Motivation is derived from the word ‘motive’ which means – needs, desires and or wants within an individual. Motivation may be intrinsic or extrinsic. Let’s see what these two types of motivation mean and how they influence our day to day lives.

Intrinsic Motivation today-is-the-day-i-can-feel-it-today-i-will-catch-that-tail-motivational-memes


Intrinsic motivation occurs when we act on something without expecting an external reward. We enjoy certain activities which as a consequence makes us learn and explore. For example, if you like to sing, you perhaps practice singing quite regularly even though you probably don’t have any intention of being a professional singer. You sing to simply learn and improve your skill. These hobbies are driven by intrinsic motivation.


Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is a reward-driving behaviour. Unlike intrinsic motivation, Extrinsic motivation is driven by rewards and incentives. We may not enjoy these activities nevertheless complete the task because we are rewarded with something. For example, your salary works as an incentive to get you to do your job.

Which motivation works best for us?

This may depend from person to person and it also depends on the type of activity or work. Intrinsic motivation is true motivation, people driven by intrinsic motivation enjoy what they do and they often yield good results. Extrinsic motivation may not last long and therefore a stronger incentive must be used to motivate someone. An increase in salary may be one example.

Extrinsic motivation however, is not always bad. Extrinsic motivation helps us with:

1.  performing a task even if we are not interested in it

Adults are very extrinsically motivated, particularly those who work at jobs they don’t like. For instance, an aspiring writer might work hard at their first job knowing it will lead to better opportunities.

2. It allows a person to set goals.

Having goals is healthy because it gives you something to work hard for. Reaching for your goals is what makes you get up early in the morning. It’s what makes you drive or commute to work despite the heavy traffic

3. It is a way to survive.

What happens if we constantly give up without a fight? We might lose the will to live and that is something that we shouldn’t let happen. Yes, we may not love our jobs but it’s what pays the bills and keeps us fed.

How do we stay motivated?

  • Set goals– Combinations of short term and long term goals always help.
  • Make it fun– Find ways to make you activity fun, this way you’ll be intrinsically motivated to do a task.
  • Reward Yourself-  Rewarding yourself is important, this could also mean doing your favourite activity like playing video games or maybe reading your favourite book.
  • See the big picture–  Always ask yourself why you’re doing what you do. The great Jewish Rabbi Hillel (alive around the time of Jesus), famously said, “If not you, then who? If not now, when?” If you truly let those words sink in, it’s hard to be a slacker.


Edited by – Keerthana Suresh








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